What made Oozing Wound’s 2013 debut, Retrash, so great was its back-to-basics approach to heavy and thrash metal — just don’t call them “trash” to their faces. The battering ram of a record featured a number of blatant High On Fire and Slayer-isms, but that was the beauty of it. The band wore their influences proudly and gave approximately zero fucks if the listener dug it.
While Retrash was absolutely a breath of fresh air in 2013, the story of the band themselves was a remarkable one. A trio forged from Chicago’s noise rock underground, Oozing Wound caught the attention of many with their massive metal sound and rowdy live show. So, it was quite fascinating when the band signed on with indie powerhouse imprint Thrill Jockey, a prominent label no doubt, but not one exactly known for their heavy metal offerings. But Oozing Wound lived up to their early buzz with Retrash, which was ranked by many, including Vice and The Quietus, to be among the best of 2013.
So, how would the band match their debut’s sheer headbang-ability with their latest, Earth Suck? The answer is by taking their sonic savagery up a notch in both a production and songwriting sense. The guitars here are more violent, the bass more ferocious and the drums reach a skull shattering intensity. And that’s in addition to the songs themselves, which reach new heights of urgency and hysteria.
For starters, the riffs on Earth Suck are downright relentless. The grinding fuzz guitars on opener “Going Through the Motions Til I Die” will undoubtedly be burned into your frontal lobe. That’s not to mention the frenzied licks of “Bury Me With My Money” that ride along a wave of hardcore aggression, while on the flip side the Sabbath-y opening salvo “When the Walls Fell” acts as a fake out before dentist drill guitar play takes over.
What’s more impressive is how Oozing Wound play to their strengths on Earth Suck. “Genuine Creeper” offers maniacal black metal at its outset before exploding into some Kill ‘Em All-esque antics, and at under three minutes, they resist the urge to overindulge and, instead, keep things tight. In contrast, “False Peak (Eath Suck)”, arguably the album’s most bombastic and epic cut, features meaty punk guitars and an unhinged rhythm section before suddenly launching into a two-note breakdown that is either hilariously hypnotic or torturous — it’s hard to tell.
Oozing Wound’s ability to evolve for the better within such a short amount of time between Retrash and Earth Suck is quite impressive in itself, but it’s more impressive how Oozing Wound challenge themselves to be a great band on both of their records and live up to it. They’re up to the challenge of taking their colossal metal sound to the next level by making it even heavier. They’re up to the challenge of crafting even more memorable songs. They’re up to the challenge of taking their rightful spot among the best metal of 2014 after already claiming a spot for the best of 2013.
Oozing Wound aren’t backing down, and Earth Suck is proof of that. Instead, they’re just doing what they do best: blowing our fucking minds.